Book Review: Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark

Aiding and Abetting: A Novel: Spark, Muriel: 9780385720908:  Books

Title: Aiding and Abetting

Author: Muriel Spark

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 176

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes

The premise of this book is so out there I’m impressed that the author managed to pull it off. It’s definitely not something I would have picked up if I wasn’t already somewhat familiar with Muriel Spark’s work. With Aiding and Abetting she takes a real incident about a upper-crust Englishman who accidently killed his children’s nanny while in the process of trying to kill his wife and takes it in a direction that could almost be described as zany.

It centers around a ‘cutting edge’ psychiatrist who gets two patients who claim to be the infamous Lord Lucan, the murderous aristocrat who’s been on the run for years. They dig up some serious dirt on the psychiatrist and blackmail her into giving them sessions and not notifying the police. The titular ‘aiders and abettors’ are Lord Lucan’s rich friends and acquaintances who helped him get away with his heinous crime.

At first it seems like Lord Lucan will get away with everything but the ending of the book contains an ironic bit of karma worthy of Roald Dahl. Aiding and Abetting is an odd, misanthropic study of privilege and how even those who consider themselves ‘good people’ are willing to enable someone who commits unconscionable acts.

I have a weird interest in these facets of human behavior and I hope that I would do better than people who turn a blind and eye and allow terrible things to happen. This book had all kinds of crazy twists and turns and was a quick read for me. I would say it was better than The Driver’s Seat but maybe not quite as good as The Finishing School, as far as Muriel Sparks’ books go.

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